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With the passing of my sweet boy Brody in Jan I was left with an indescribable void. The love of a dog is like no other, my  husband and I did not take the decision to bring a new dog into our home lightly. For the sake of a reality check I will share that the CON list far out weighed the PRO list when it came down to adding a new dog to the mix. So when our gentle giant arrived in March it is needles to say the CON list was kicking us in the ass. With much guilt and determination I started my search for a dog trainer. Side note~ There are a lot of screwed up folks out there passing themselves off as dog trainers. Some of the Jerks I ran into think it’s best to humiliate the human and call that good for the dog. This is so not how it works. Stressed out and nervous we employed a great group of people who are as lovely to us dog owners as they are to the dogs.

This November will host my 40th year, instead of tamping down the usual “I’m aging” crap I turned my efforts to finding and utilizing a very talented and lovely therapist. As I approach this years birthday it has been blindingly obvious that I need to make some changes. I’m clear that I have not the tools nor the knowledge for the mental and emotional overhaul that has to take place.

While all of this life is happening my little family of three was gifted a trip to Paris France. Yes this is on the top five most generous gifts we have ever received. I’ve never owned a passport. I would have told you being a world traveler was a retirement dream, but here it was, the trip of a lifetime. They say Pairs changes you, that Paris stays with you.  Who ever “They” are, “They” were right. Calm, quiet, respectful is in every aspect of this citys life. Paris opened my eyes to a space of leisure I thought could only exist if I were independently wealthy.

So here is how these folks and this city changed me.

Self awareness came when Ben and Mike, our dog trainers, explained there was no need to raise your voice, dogs respond to quiet and calm commands. My quiet calm voice got results, Knox listened and learned. Huge light bulb moment. They explained my guilt was what would turn my dog into a badly behaved pup, not my dogs inability to be well behaved. I took pause and put that advice into immediate action. No surprise that our dog is a super star in his puppy training. Calm, quiet, guilt free actions, practiced over and over again, yields positive results. Go figure.

Self reflection came when Jaime, my therapist, asked this simple question “What can I help you with?” She has had some extraordinary insight into why I feel sad, over worked and guilty. With her guidance and advice it has finally sunk in that a calm, quiet minded me can accomplish far more without feeling boxed in and crazed. I found a space where it is ok that it is about me, (awkward) where I calmly and quietly control what I’m comfortable doing. Brilliant!

The permission to be happy came in a the 9th arrondissement as Brad and I strolled the streets of Paris. My very wise husband mentioned I should adopt the city’s calm, quiet, leisurely ways. That I could benefit from a slower pass. “You lived the first half to please others, now live the second half to please yourself.” he went on to explain he understood why I am the way I am, but that those closest to me will understand a much needed shift of focus. I hear ya babe, I hear ya.

How do I implement a better understanding of myself and refocus my days you ask…  I quiet my mind, I say much less, listen a ton more, and move calmly through hard moments not allowing myself to feel guilty. So hard to do, it will be an ongoing process, that will take a ton of practice, but I’m committed.

This is what my dog trainers, my therapist, and Paris France has taught me. Live quietly, calmly, guilt free and it will produce a happier me.

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